Wednesday, February 22, 2012

CGI: Real and Fake

The introduction of CGI into cinema has changed the look of film(as well as television)immensely. For better or worse isn't for me to say; what I will say, though, is how to spot the difference between real CGI and fake CGI.  The abundance of fake CGI in the movies today is overwhelming and, In my opinion, we deserve better.

For the layman It's difficult to tell what's real and what isn't, for a majority of reasons: they either don't care, or don't see enough to make a difference to them, or the bogus stuff looks so close to the real deal they let it slide, even if they know what they're getting. I myself can't stomach fake CGI, I'm not even a fan of most of the real stuff. This is just my opinion, so you'll need to decide for yourself.

Let's look at some examples of real CGI, starting with the trailer for Avatar, the popular film by James Cameron.

 :37 seconds in, notice the floating mountains, they look so real with the misty clouds hovering all around, very difficult to fake. The ship, the camera pan, all too much to deny that we're seeing an example of real CGI.

At 1:17 take a close look at Sully's feet, tell me how to fake that, it's impossible. His hand against the glass, those ears, no disputing the authenticity of the CGI in these scenes. The dragons and the little floating seed things blow me away, this is as real as it gets. There is one fake scene in Avatar that I will let slide, because rumor has it that a subcontracted company slipped it in without the knowledge of Cameron. It went unnoticed until after the premier but I believe it was fixed for the DVD release. It's at 1:53, the floating cinder and ash behind the blue lady is obviously fake.

OK, let's look at the Scrat short film from Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, a film so fake you won't believe your eyes. 

The first shot with that rat thing is ridiculous, totally fake, nothing in the real world of CGI can bounce around like that. They didn't even try to hide it. At 1:21 the ground just opens up? I don't think so. Are those giraffes? You can't even tell what they're doing the scene and camera move is so quick. Terrible. Take a lap, Ice Age 4: Continental Drift: Scrat short film.

At 1:38 the awful Mt. Rushmore scene really pisses me off, it doesn't look anything like the original carvings. It's the same rat thing over and over. Shameless. The planet Earth is fake CGI, the acorn, the sky, everything. Even the sound is fake. You get the idea.

So when you're watching a movie or T.V. show, make sure to choose something authentic, the fake stuff gives the industry a bad name, and if you don't, soon all CGI will be a big fraud and everyone loses.



  1. I'm with Luther on this one. I miss the days of genuine physical effects, like the classic claymation techniques employed when breathing life into the stained glass warrior in Young Sherlock Holmes.

  2. Remind me not to use you guys for any of my research needs.

  3. Take everything you write, docter and reveres then it will be more acurate.

  4. The stained glass warrior in young sherlock holmes was actaully the very 1st full CGI character.